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World leading reproduction expert Professor Roger Short, of the University of Melbourne, says Australia’s population growth is out of control increasing the rate of global warming. Professor Short presents at Home Grown Remedies for Global Ills as part of the University of Melbourne's Festival of Ideas.
Fellow presenter Professor Rob Moodie, says Australians need to start their own internal carbon trading scheme by “getting out of the car and off the couch at every opportunity”.
 

Nobel Laureate Professor Peter Doherty has warned doing nothing on climate change is a dangerous experiment that Australia can not afford to be part of.

Australian and New Zealand researchers have accelerated research into Multiple Sclerosis by discovering two new locations of genes which will help to unravel the causes of MS and other autoimmune disease.  Their findings were published today in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics.

The introduction of nurse operated walk-in clinics for public hospitals will help formalise the new role of nurses according to Head of Nursing at Melbourne University, Professor Sanchia Aranda.

“There is this classic perception that nurses are educated to know just enough to help doctors do their job. Yet these days the role of a nurse is blurred,” she says.

“These days there are nurses who have Masters and PhD degrees, these people have sophisticated skills and the ability to support the management of patients.”

Professor Aranda says the federally funded walk-in clinics – for patients seeking fast treatment of minor injuries and ailments - will not only free doctors up to focus on more complex cases, but also help formalise tasks that nurses are already doing within the health system.

“Take something like a broken arm, there are already triage nurses who can read x-rays, put on casts and monitor patients as they deal with the injury without the patient needing to see a doctor,” she says.

Professor Aranda says despite the increased number of skills needed by nurses, society’s perception of the profession is not changing very rapidly. Yet she says there are pockets of hope that this perception will change, like the Masters course of Nursing that the University introduced last year. Professor Aranda says that if we can bring brighter people into the profession then perceptions will begin to change, and then nurses will be seen as performing roles that are able to really help people manage their illnesses.

North Korea’s underground nuclear tests have been condemned by world leaders, yet Associate Professor Tilman Ruff says the global community should not simply react by reprimanding the regime but ridding the world of nuclear weapons.

“There are around 25,000 nuclear weapons in the world and if less than half of one per cent of the world’s nuclear arsenal was targeted on cities it could result in a global climatic catastrophe that would imperil human civilisation,” he says.

“Every day we live with this terrible risk that the world could end.”

Professor Ruff says North Korea’s underground nuclear testing and violation of Resolution 1718 brings into force the need for a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty. He says nations who claim nuclear weapons are essential to their own security are often the same ones who are claiming these weapons are a threat when possessed by anyone else.

“This kind of nuclear apartheid is unsustainable and the only approach that really has legs is one that has a consistent standard - zero nuclear weapons for all countries,” he says.

Professor Ruff says the sooner we see serious progress toward the goal of zero nuclear weapons the better and says this goal is a lot more achievable since the Obama administration got into power.

“We have agreed on global treaties to abolish cluster munitions, land mines, chemical and biological weapons in the past, so there is plenty of precedent for abolishing whole classes of weapons by a comprehensive treaty. Many would argue that the same approach should be applied to nuclear weapons.”

A $115m HEARing Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and the University of Melbourne’s new state-of-the-art Audiology, Hearing and Speech Sciences facility will be co-launched by Senator Kim Carr today at 4.30pm at 550 Swanston Street, Melbourne. Hearing loss affects one in six Australians, with the real economic cost estimated to be $11.7 billion per annum – with an aging population and increasing noise in our everyday lives, prevalence and costs are projected to rise.

Dr Jodie McVernon says it was inevitable that swine flu would eventually hit our shores following confirmation this morning of three cases in Melbourne. Yet she assures Melbourne residents that these cases are not an indication of “wider community risk”.

Dr McVernon says surveillance measures put in place by the Department of Human Services upon the outbreak of swine flu aided containment of the virus to three boys from one family.

“The first child travelled while healthy and presented with symptoms late which is why he went to school for one day. Despite this there is no evidence at the moment that this family has spread the virus to anyone outside their family,” she says.

Dr McVernon says that while some ministers have advised people to prepare their pandemic pantries in readiness for a local swine flu outbreak, at this stage “we have a local event with three cases in one family, and no indication of wider community risk”.

“Australia is also very fortunate to have a dedicated vaccine manufacturer which has been building up its production capacity to develop a strain specific vaccine which is in process now and will take several months”.


A new study has shown that the effectiveness of the Komodo Dragon bite is a combination of highly specialized serrated teeth and venom. The authors also dismiss the widely accepted theory that prey die from septicemia caused by toxic bacteria living in the dragon’s mouth.

Using sophisticated medical imaging techniques, an international team led by Dr Bryan Fry from the University of Melbourne have revealed that the Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis) has the most complex venom glands yet described for any reptile, and that its close extinct relative Megalania was the largest venomous animal to have lived.

A new study has shown that the effectiveness of the Komodo Dragon bite is a combination of highly specialized serrated teeth and venom. The authors also dismiss the widely accepted theory that prey die from septicemia caused by toxic bacteria living in the dragon’s mouth

A group of global health experts have united to pressure the World Health Organisation into including a process of mass vaccination into its management strategy for cholera outbreaks in Africa as the deadly disease spreads.

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